Florida is in the midst of a drug crisis. However, not all drugs are illegal. Physicians often prescribe medications like fentanyl to manage pain. Unfortunately, fentanyl and many other prescription drugs are highly addictive. Even if you began taking medicine to recover from surgery or a serious injury, you could become dependent on the same substance you hoped would help you.
If law enforcement believes that you have obtained prescription medicines by fraud, you could face serious criminal charges.
Prescriptions by Fraud in Florida
The Florida Statutes make it illegal to obtain a prescription through fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, or forgery. You could face criminal charges under Florida Statute § 893.13(7)(a) if you are suspected of:
- Stealing prescription pads from a doctor’s office
- Calling in false prescriptions to a pharmacy
- Altering an existing prescription
- Forging a prescription
- Seeing several different doctors to obtain the desired prescription
The Penalties for Prescription Fraud
Prescription fraud is a felony offense. Even if you were unable to obtain the medication, you could still be charged and face severe penalties, including prison time, fines, and a permanent criminal record. The penalties for prescription fraud depend on the circumstances. For example:
- If you obtain a prescription by fraud, you could be charged with a third-degree felony even if you did not obtain the medication. This is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
- If you obtain a prescription by fraud and were arrested with the medication on your person, you could face additional charges for illegal possession of a controlled substance. This additional charge is also punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
Law enforcement and prosecutors have significant discretion in levying additional charges. If you had multiple medications or a significant quantity of pills, you could be arrested and charged with drug trafficking, even if all of your medicine was clearly meant for personal use.
Depending on the circumstances of your arrest and the number of pills seized, you could face up to 30 years in prison.
Contact an Okaloosa County Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or a loved one has been arrested with pills or a falsified perscription, call Flaherty & Merrifield today at (850) 243-6097 for a free consultation.